Cuomo Still Hasn't Agreed to General Election Debate

Cuomo Still Hasn't Agreed to General Election Debate

Gotham Gazette: October 19, 2018

With just two and a half weeks to go until election day, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a two-term Democrat running for reelection, has not yet agreed to a general election debate with his challengers.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Cuomo leading Republican challenger Marc Molinaro 58 percent to 35 percent among likely voters, suggesting that the race will likely be a landslide for the governor. Third party candidates Stephanie Miner of the Serve America Movement, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, and Larry Sharpe of the Libertarian Party, were not included in the poll. 

The four challengers have repeatedly called on the governor to participate in debates ahead of the November 6 general election.

In his 2010 and 2014 bids for governor, Cuomo did participate in general election debates, with the third party candidates on the stage, which diluted the time that both Cuomo and his Republican opponents were able to make their case to the state. Ahead of the September primary this year, Cuomo only participated in one debate against challenger Cynthia Nixon, the actor and education activist.  

In a statement on Thursday to the Democrat & Chronicle, a Cuomo campaign spokesperson, Dani Lever, even said that Molinaro's call for a debate was hypocritical, as he himself did not debated his short-lived primary challenger John DeFrancisco. DeFrancisco had dropped out in April, four months ahead of the primary and well before any debates would have likely occurred. The Democrat and Chronicle also reported that the New York State League of Women Voters launched a crowdfunding campaign on Thursday to raise money to host a  livestreamed debate. 

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